In my yoga teacher training course we had to write a series of essays. Not the kind with a works cited and MLA format* and a thesis; these were more like journals on a particular topic.
*Is this still applicable to essay writing? I studied math in university; we proved things with number and symbols not theses.
In our final ceremony we sat in a big circle and passed a candle from person to person as we all shared our last essay “If I Had 25 Hours Left to Live…” I wrote mine before I found out that the 25 was a typo, and before I found out that I would have to share it with the group. I thought about writing the obvious– spending my last hours eating a big meal with my favourite people– but it sounded boring and I wanted to think of something more awesome. That started up all these questions in my head which I ended up writing down and handing in as my essay, without really answering the original question.
I found out, on more than one occasion this past month, that people find me funny. My humour is entirely unintentional, so evidently my normal thoughts are something to laugh about (I’m still not sure how to take that). Anyway, my point is, my peers found my essay absolutely hilarious and made me promise to publish it. I think ‘hilarious’ is a stretch, but in any case I stayed true to my word.
If I Had 25 Hours Left to Live…
… I would have a hell of a lot of questions. Mostly questions without answers. And given their philosophical nature I’d likely spend a good chunk of my brief time on earth in deep contemplation.
For starters, why twenty-five hours? Why not twenty-four? Every day of my life I’ve wished for an extra hour, so while perhaps I should be grateful, it seems like a cruel joke that God decided to finally grant me those sixty minutes on the day of my death. Figures, eh?
I also want to know how exactly I will die. Am I already in the process of slowly dying over these twenty-five hours? Will my body shut down a little bit at a time, one organ, then another, then another? If this is the case it would be a nice bonus to know the order of deterioration so I can organize and categorize my bucket list in the most efficient way possible. (I’d want to make sure I go on my dessert binge before my pancreas fails. Just sayin’.)
Am I going to die suddenly when the clock strokes 25:00 hours? That would give me much more freedom to tick off my bucket list. How great! …
… unless of course that sudden death is going to be some excruciatingly painful, horror movie situation. In that case I have to figure out a method of securing a solid supply of anesthesia or, failing that, I hear horse tranquilizers aren’t too hard to get your hands on.
And, good heavens!, why do I only have 25 hours left to live? Did I do something wrong? Was it something I said? Is this some sort of test? Do I have to do something good and kind and wonderful so that when 25 o’clock rolls around God says: “Naw, you’re cool. You can live to die another 25 hour day.” If this is the case I wouldn’t even know where to start—doing good deeds is harder than securing horse tranquilizers! (Oh, maybe that’s why my hours are numbered!)
So assuming I fail the do-gooder test, I should probably start planning my funeral, getting all my finances in order, and maybe making a phone call to my lawyer before I address my bucket list. Work then play, so it goes in death as in life.
Now that everything is in order I realize I’ve just taken up an hour addressing all my questions and concerns. That 25 hour window is starting to make sense—smooth move God. So 24 hours left now and time is ticking…I guess it’s time to start actually writing that bucket list. With any luck I’ll get a chance to tick off a couple of items before the hour of my death comes.